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Ceremony Seating

"You may be seated"...sounds simple right? Surprisingly there's a great deal of etiquette and tradition for wedding ceremony seating that you and your ushers should be aware of!

Taking Sides

In a Christian ceremony the bride’s friends and family usually sit on the left side of the church and the groom’s sit on the right (when looking from the back to front). The reverse is true for Reform and Conservative Jewish weddings. If one side has many more guests than the other, you may want to dispense with this custom and seat everyone together to achieve a more balanced look.

Ushering
When a couple arrives, the usher should take the woman's arm and escort her to her seat; her escort will follow. The oldest woman should be seated first, if several guests arrive together.

Special Seating Arrangements
The first three or four rows of pews or chairs should be reserved for family and very special friends. No one else should be seated there. The people whom you want to sit in the reserved seating should be notified by pew cards or word of mouth. In some cases these rows are sectioned off by ribbons, meaning they are reserved.

Note:
Be certain that your ushers are aware of all special seating arrangements!

Traditionally, your mother and father sit in the first row with your siblings in the second. If you only have one or two unmarried siblings or limited space, they can be seated next to your parents. Grandparents sit in the third row, close friends and relatives in the fourth and so on.

Seating Divorced Parents
In case of divorce, the bride/groom's natural mother traditionally has the privilege of sitting in the first row. If your divorced parents have remained amicable, then your father may sit directly behind your mother in the second row or with her in the first. Otherwise your father may be seated a few rows farther back. However, if you were raised by your stepmother and wish to give her the honor, she and your father may sit in the first row, while your mother sits further back.

"Please Be Seated"
Guests should be seated by ushers as they arrive, from front to back. The mothers of the bride and groom should be seated just before the ceremony begins. Late arriving guests are not escorted to their seats by ushers. They should take seats near the back, preferably via a side aisle.

 

 

 

 

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